I want to demolish the idea that when characters are shown knowing a fictional language, fanfiction writers need struggle to find an aesthetic sounding language that they do not know. Specifically talking about POC and from the POV of one.
Hi, I’m Syeda Mahnoor Ali and I’m from Pakistan and speak Urdu, sometimes mistaken for Hindi. Urdu and Hindi share an Indo-Aryan base, but Urdu is associated with the Nastaliq script style of Persian calligraphy and reads right-to-left, whereas Hindi resembles Sanskrit and reads left-to-right. The earliest linguistic influences in the development of Urdu probably began with the Muslim conquest of Sindh in 711. The language started evolving from Farsi and Arabic contacts during the invasions of the Indian subcontinent by Persian and Turkic forces from the 11th century onward. Urdu developed more decisively during the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526) and the Mughal Empire (1526–1858). When the Delhi Sultanate expanded south to the Deccan Plateau, the literary language was influenced by the languages spoken in the south, by Punjabi and Haryanvi, and by Sufi and court usage. The earliest verse dates to the 15th century, and the golden period of Urdu poetry was the 18th–19th centuries. Urdu religious prose goes back several centuries, while secular writing flourished from the 19th century onward. Modern Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and is also spoken by many millions of people in India.
Although I live in Saudi Arabia (as a Muslim as well) it does not hinder me from knowing the common distaste for my language and the shame many of my people have speaking it. The common opinion of it being a dirty language and the people who speak it sounding illiterate, it’s a lot ok?
And then I read ACOMAF and encountered Illyrians. We do not know their culture, neither have we heard a word in their language. While writing a fanfiction I could easily go to google translate and look up some phrases in Swedish or Roman or Greek…simply because that’s what people think Illyrians would sound like and it would sound “pretty”.
We all know that Illyrians aren’t white and none of the bits and pieces of their culture show that they are from said places. Then why should I write them as such?
Why can’t I write them speaking Urdu? Or Arabic for that matter? Why can’t I have a scene where the boys are roughhousing and Cassian yells “Lun pe charh meri” (Climb on my dick) or romantic scenes where Rhysand whispers loving compliments to Feyre such as “Mere dil ki chaand” (Moon of my heart) or “Meri bulbul” (My nightingale)
I’ve been so wrapped up in discomfort because of my language that I never even put serious thought into such things until I had a dream where they all spoke Urdu/Arabic as those are the default languages in my mind. No matter how much I try to convince myself that I am a proud Pakistani and I will not be swayed by the effects of the Big Orange Cheeto. I’ll be lying till the day I stop using google translate to assist me in my fanfictions so that I sound more “aesthetic”